Global Challenges Research Fund Visiting Fellowship 2018-2019: Cultural heritage and land rights

Project: Internally funded project

Project Details


Cultural tourism has been highlighted as one of the most important development opportunities for Africa. A recent World Bank Report stated that the rich intangible cultural heritage of Sub-Saharan Africa presents a substantial opportunity for tourism growth. Increasingly, cultural tourism can be used as a pathway for poverty alleviation, inclusive growth and place-based socio-economic development. Sustainable cultural tourism has the scope to reach the most marginalized communities who often live in remote rural areas where apart from tourism no other substantial opportunities exist for developing an inclusive business growth model. However, the opportunities that cultural tourism may offer are currently underexplored, because priority was given to developing wildlife tourism and a lack of understanding of the significance and economic potential of cultural heritage. Cultural heritage management has been mainly a by-product of colonialism, and the colonial scientific approach towards cultural heritage management continued after de-colonisation resulting in the alienation of local communities from their own cultural heritage. For local communities to benefit from the nexus tourism-development, changes need to be made in the regulation and management of cultural heritage. This project will contribute directly to this process by investigating how an intimate understanding of traditional custodianship can contribute to more sustainable, effective and inclusive cultural heritage management practices. This will require the adoption of a legal framework that is based on legal pluralism. A combination of local, national and international cultural heritage management laws and regulations can provide a robust, inclusive and just legal framework as part of an increasing role culture can play in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically in the areas: of access to land and natural resources (SDGs 1, 2, 6, 8, 15) and recognition of human rights of indigenous peoples (SDGs 1, 4, 8, 10 and 16).
Effective start/end date1/05/1931/08/19


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